A Woman’s Heart

There’s a simple reason why heart health is different for men and women. Our hearts are different. For starters, women’s hearts are smaller and our blood vessels narrower than men’s.

Until recently, women with heart disease were treated just like men—with the same tests, the same procedures, the same medications. Then, here at the first hospital in the nation to focus on gender medicine in a comprehensive way, we realized that women just weren’t doing as well as men. That, in fact, women with heart disease were more likely than men to go undiagnosed and more likely to die of their first heart attack.

Heart disease doesn’t look or feel the same in women as in men. Most conditions, including high blood pressure, valve disease, cardiovascular disease and congestive heart failure, progress differently in women than in men. Women often have different symptoms than men when they suffer a heart attack or stroke. Based on what we’ve learned about women’s hearts, we offer diagnostic tests, like intravascular ultrasound, that are better at detecting heart disease in women. We approach treatment decisions with the knowledge that women can benefit from different treatments than men, from subtle calibrations in pacemakers to variations on angioplasty.

And, most importantly, we acknowledge that a woman wants to understand her options. We welcome the opportunity to partner with you about your treatment choices.

Date Last Modified: January 21, 2011

Send Feedback To: BWH Women’s Health at bwhteleservices@partners.org

75 Francis Street, Boston, MA 02115 617.732.5500
harvard medical school partners healthcare © BWH 2011